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This Is What You Need To Know About Sclerotherapy

This Is What You Need To Know About Sclerotherapy

What is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a popular medical procedure that uses an injection of a solution to eliminate spider veins, reticular, and small varicose veins. It’s a proven varicose veins treatment and spider vein treatment that has been in use since the 1930s. The procedure is performed in-office, and the solution is either a foam or liquid that is injected via a small gauge needle. Once the solution has been injected, it causes the vein to swell and stick together, or scar. Blood is then forced to reroute through healthier veins, while the scarred vein is reabsorbed into local tissue, eventually fading.

Sclerotherapy Candidates

For those who are troubled by their varicose veins, a dermatologist or vascular medicine specialist will decide whether or not the procedure would be suitable. If you are pregnant, the procedure will not be done; however, if you take birth control pills, you are eligible have the varicose veins treatment. Those patients who have had a blood clot in the past have their eligibility for the procedure determined on a case-by-case basis. Eligibility depends on the overall health of the area to be worked on, and the reason for the blood clot is also considered, according to WebMd.

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Effectiveness of Varicose and Spider Vein Treatment with Sclerotherapy

Research shows that up to 80% of injected veins can be treated and eliminated with each treatment session, and 90% of people who undergo sclerotherapy do respond to the injections. For the most part, small spider veins can be seen fading in three to six weeks, while larger veins may take three to four months to fade. When veins respond to the treatment, they do not ever reappear, although new veins may become visible.

Possible Side Effects

Most side effects of sclerotherapy are mild and do not persist for very long. Itching is possible and can last for one or two days, and there may be raised and/or red areas at injection sites for a couple of days. Bruising can also occur, and can last several days or a few weeks, depending on the patient. Although larger veins that have been treated can become hard and lumpy, they will normally dissolve and fade within a few months. Brown lines or spots can also appear, but in most cases they disappear within six months. More serious side effects, which are rare, might include allergic reactions to the solution, inflammation within five inches of the groin, a sudden onset of a swollen leg, and small ulcers that form at the injection site. Should any of these side effects occur, your doctor should be contacted right away.

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The Cost of Sclerotherapy

How much you will pay for this vein treatment procedure will depend on several factors. You should know that unless the varicose veins are causing medical issues, such as pain or chronic swelling, insurance probably will not cover the procedure. Be sure to check with your insurance company ahead of time and ensure that you fully understand the costs you will be responsible for. The cost of the procedure will also vary from provider to provider, and will depend on how many veins are treated, how large the veins are, and so on. If your insurance will cover the cost, the company will require a letter from your doctor discussing the nature of the treatment and the necessity of it.

Before and After Sclerotherapy Treatment for Veins

Prior to your procedure, your doctor will evaluate the veins involved and will want to know about any recent illnesses or medical conditions, allergies, and medications or supplements you take. You’ll be instructed to stop taking any aspirin, NSAIDs, and blood thinners at a certain point before the procedure to minimize bleeding. Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding shaving and applying lotion to the legs for 24 hours before your treatment and wearing loose, comfy clothes to the appointment.

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Medical experts recommend that anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin be avoided for 48 hours after your treatment. You should also avoid hot baths, saunas, whirlpools, and exposure to direct sunlight. Showers are fine, but be sure that the water is not hot. You may wash injection sites with mild soap and water. Walking is encouraged, and you can resume your regular daily activities, with the exception of strenuous aerobic exercise; you’ll also be told to wear compression stockings for a bit afterwards. Should you have any concerns about anything regarding your sclerotherapy treatment, be sure to consult your medical professional.

Featured photo credit: stylecraze.com via stylecraze.com

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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